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Dated 09/27/2007

Flu Clinics Offered by County Health Department
www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/flu.htm

DATED: Tuesday, July 02, 2007
CONTACT: Hunterdon County Health Department 908-788-1351
CONTACT PERSON: Carl Rachel, Public Relations Director
EMAIL: crachel@co.hunterdon.nj.us

The Hunterdon County Department of Health will conduct five public flu and pneumonia clinics this year beginning in October.  These clinics are open to all residents.  Vaccine ordered earlier this year is arriving and will continue to come in during the coming weeks.

The first event is October 29, from 4pm-6pm at South Hunterdon High School in Lambertville.  The second clinic is October 30, from 4pm-6pm at Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner.  Subsequent clinics are November 7, from 2pm-6:30pm at Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington; November 15, from 10am-12pm at St. Edwards Church in Milford; November 28, from 5pm-7pm at Holland Brook School in Whitehouse Station.

For seniors showing their Traditional Medicare Part B Card, both the flu and pneumonia vaccines will be billed to the provider. No other insurances plans, including Medicare HMOs, will be accepted. For other residents, either flu or pneumonia vaccines are $20 each. Seniors age 65 and over only need to receive the pneumonia shot one time and they are good for life. Anyone under 65 years of age must have a note from their physician indicating eligibility for the pneumonia vaccination.

Who should get a flu shot?  The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends these priority groups for this year: all children 6 months -4 years of age; all persons 50 years and older; children and adolescents aged 6 months - 18 years who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy and who therefore might be at risk for Reye syndrome after influenza virus infection; women who will be pregnant during influenza season; adults and children with chronic pulmonary (including asthma), cardiovascular (except hypertension), renal, hepatic, hematological or metabolic disorders including diabetes mellitus); adults and children who have immunosuppression (including that caused by medication or by HIV); adults and children with any condition (e.g., cognitive dysfunction, spinal cord injuiries, seizure or other neuromuscular disorders) that may compromise respiratory function or the handling of respiratory secretions, or that can increase the risk for aspiration; residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities.

Vaccinations are also recommended for persons living with or caring for someone who is at high risk for influenza-related complications.  These include healthy household contacts, including children, and caregivers of children aged less than 5 years, and adults aged 50 and above.  Also included are healthy household contacts, including children, and caregivers of persons with medical conditions putting them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza.

"With more than 3,500 doses we ordered for this year, everyone who desires a flu shot should be able to get one," said John Beckley, director of the county health department.  "Unlike vaccine shortages of previous years, the government reports this season's supplies will sufficiently meet national demand.”  According to the Centers for Disease Control, nationwide more than 100 million doses are expected to be produced this year.

As in previous years when unexpected events interrupted vaccine production, the health department reminds residents that the clinics will be held only if sufficient flu vaccine is received prior to the clinic dates.  It is advisable to call the Hunterdon County Department InfoLine at 908-788-1329 for recorded updates about the clinic schedule nearer to the clinic dates.  If you have a specific medical concern, contact the Public Health Nursing & Education division at 908-806-4570.  The health department website www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.htm will also post an up-to-date clinic schedule and any changes to that schedule should they occur.

“Flu is serious and should not be taken lightly," cautioned Beckley.  "It causes more than 36,000 deaths each year in the U.S.  A flu shot is the best defense and should be made a personal priority as we enter this flu season.”

www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.htm